I’m picking the New York Rangers to beat the Penguins in the first-round playoff series between the teams. To read why, click HERE.
But if the Penguins lose, it won’t be Casey DeSmith’s fault.
DeSmith will be deputizing for Tristan Jarry. The Penguins’ No. 1 goalie is sidelined by a broken foot. Coach Mike Sullivan says Jarry is day-to-day. DeSmith will definitely start Game 1 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday and will likely play the entire series.
The Rangers have Igor Shersterkin, the presumptive Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s top goaltender. The Penguins will use their backup.
But since (and including) a 3-2 shootout loss to visiting Detroit on Jan. 28, DeSmith has posted an 8-3-4 record with a respectable save percentage of .927. Not revelatory, but not bad.
DeSmith has looked the part, too. He been at the top of his crease. His size hasn’t often betrayed him. (He’s listed at 6 feet. He’s more like 5 feet 10.) He’s athletic and never gives up on a play.
DeSmith is ready. He won’t be the reason the Penguins lose.
I’m not sure DeSmith can be the reason they win, either.